Indiana will be without its most explosive playmaker at one of the most important junctures of its season.
IU coach Kevin Wilson announced Monday that sophomore running back Tevin Coleman, who earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after rushing for 215 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-35 win against Illinois on Saturday, is out for the Hoosiers game against Wisconsin this week.
Coleman suffered an ankle sprain in the fourth quarter.
Tevins not a guy that you want to lose, offensive coordinator Seth Littrell said of Coleman, who was the first IU back to record more than 200 yards in a game since BenJarvus Green-Ellis did it a decade ago. Youre going to lose his productivity and the type of player that he is and the explosiveness.
This is as bad a time as any to lose that.
The Hoosiers (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) still have senior running back Stephen Houston, who ran for 150 yards and two scores against the Illini. They also have junior running back DAngelo Roberts and redshirt sophomore Anthony Davis and redshirt freshman Andrew Wilson.
But Coleman has breakaway speed the rest dont. His 75- and 64-yard touchdown runs against Illinois showed that. He is among the nations leaders in plays of more than 40 yards and could become the first 1,000-yard back in Wilsons tenure.
Its nothing major, Wilson said. Its not a break, but its major enough that with an ankle deal in the skill position, a fast guy, hes going to be very, very limited, in all likelihood.
We can say end of the week well see how it goes, but fortunately weve got some depth there, and well need some guys to step up if we need it. Thats probably going to have to happen.
That has been a theme for the Hoosiers this season.
Junior cornerback Tim Bennett suffered a concussion against the Illini but should be ready for the Badgers when IU heads to Madison on Saturday.
Redshirt junior center Collin Rahrig, who had started the last 15 games for the Hoosiers between center and left guard, was out with a back injury against Illinois. He should be back for the Wisconsin game, too.
But IU has already lost some key contributors, including offensive linemen Peyton Eckert and Dan Feeney for the season, as well as safety Antonio Allen. Despite the dings, it has found ways to prevent letdowns.
Wilson thinks his team is good enough to overcome Colemans injury, even against Wisconsin, a team that gives up just 98.4 yards per game on the ground.
Weve been very, very fortunate, as our strength programs taken off and our recruitings gotten a little better, he said. Walk-on program has gotten better, and weve gotten more depth. Thats why we can weather the storm.